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Authors: Lisa Jackson

Twice Kissed (47 page)

BOOK: Twice Kissed
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He flashed me a smile, then scraped back the chair opposite me. The sun’s rays sent a shaft of gold light over his left arm. His gray shirt was one of those suede-ish fabrics that moved like a second skin.

“Jane Kelly?” he asked.

Great voice. Warm and mellow. He smelled good, too. Musky and citrusy at the same time. And his dark hair had the faintest, and I mean faintest, of an auburn tint, the shade of color women pay big, big, HUGE, bucks for.

I nodded, wondering if I should check for drool on my chin. You can never be too careful.

“I’m Jasper Purcell.”

“Hello.”

“Thanks for meeting with me. I know I didn’t give you a lot of time.”

I cleared my throat. “No problem. Marta Cornell said you wanted to see me about your family. She wasn’t specific.”

“I wasn’t specific with her.” He hesitated, his eyes squinting a bit as if he were wrestling with confiding in me. After a moment, he said, “It’s about my grandmother, Orchid Purcell.”

I looked interested, waiting for him to continue.

“She named all her girls after flowers. But it’s the only crazy thing she’s done until now.”

Mental illness runs in the Purcell family…
“What’s happened?” I asked cautiously, but Jasper Purcell didn’t answer me. He appeared to be lost to some inner world.

Eventually he surfaced, glancing around, seeming to notice his surroundings for the first time. “Nice place. I’ve never been here.”

Since Foster’s was a Lake Chinook institution I was kind of surprised. The Dunthorpe area—where the Purcell mansion had been for the last century—was just north of the lake. If Jasper Purcell grew up there, the restaurant seemed like a natural.

“How can I help you, Mr. Purcell?”

That seemed to jolt him back. “Sorry.” He leaned across the table and clasped my hand. The heat of his fingers ran right up my arm. I was dazzled by that incredible face so close to mine. “Call me Jazz.”

“Jazz?”

“Short for Jasper. My cousin Cammie could never pronounce it.”

Nowhere in my research had anything been said about this man’s extraordinary good looks. Was Cammie as beautiful as Jasper—Jazz—was handsome? I made a mental note to ask Dwayne.

Instinctively, I knew I should stay out of whatever he had in store for me. But I really wanted to help him. Really,
really
wanted to help him. Call it temporary insanity. But every cell in my body seemed to be magnetically attracted to him.

Jazz said, “I’d like you to meet my grandmother and tell me what you think. See if you believe she’s still got it together upstairs. Just get an overall impression. That’s all I’m looking for.” He turned toward the lake. A sleek, black-and-white MasterCraft pulled up to the dock outside Foster’s patio.

I didn’t talk about my rates. I didn’t mention that I was barely an apprentice. I didn’t explain that I wasn’t the person for the job. I didn’t say
anything
to jeopardize the moment. Under Jasper Purcell’s spell I could only give one answer: “Yes.”

That brought a brilliant smile to his lips. He gave me his full attention again and clasped my hands between his own. My knuckles tingled. “Thank you,” he said, his gaze so warm my internal temperature shot skyward.
Whew
. I was going to have to order another drink…and pour it over my head to cool off.

Marry in haste, repent in leisure
. One of my mother’s favorite axioms slipped across my mind. So, okay, I wasn’t marrying the guy. It wasn’t like he was even interested. But I sure ended up with a lot of time wishing I hadn’t been so hasty.

Every time I say “yes” it gets me in a shitload of trouble.

 

New York Times
bestselling authors Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton, and Wendy Corsi Staub join forces to create a thrilling novel about love, revenge, and the dark secrets three women hold to a terrifying murder…

A KILLER WHO GETS AWAY WITH MURDER ONCE…

It’s been twenty years since Jake Marcott was brutally murdered at the St. Elizabeth’s High School Valentine’s Day dance. It’s a night that shattered the lives of three girls in Jake’s life—Lindsay Farrell, Kirsten Daniels, and Rachel Alsace. It’s a night they’ll never forget. A killer will make sure of that…

FINDS IT EASIER TO KILL AGAIN…

A twenty-year reunion has been scheduled for St. Elizabeth’s. For some alumni, very special invitations have been sent: their smiling senior pictures slashed by an angry red line…

AND AGAIN…AND AGAIN…

Three women have been marked for death. Tonight, as the music plays, and the doors of St. Elizabeth are sealed, a killer will finish what was started long ago, and the sins of the past will be paid for in blood…

Look for
MOST LIKELY TO DIE
coming in February 2007!

ZEBRA BOOKS are published by

Kensington Publishing Corp.
850 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Copyright ’ 1998, 2006 by Lisa Jackson

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.

Zebra and the Z logo Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-7289-8

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